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Maui Ribs

February 24, 2010

By Kath Dedon



When we stayed in a condo in the Kihei area of Maui years ago, we discovered Azeka’s. They sold the most delicious ribs that really had a cult following. They were thinly sliced “flanken-style” beef short ribs that were marinated in a teriyaki-style sauce. (You might also see this style of ribs called Kalbi Ribs or Korean Ribs.) We would take them back to the condo, steam some rice, make a salad, and throw them on the grill. Easy and delicious vacation cooking!

After over 50 years in business, Azeka’s closed in 2006. There are several different recipes for the marinade floating around on the Internet, posted by loyal fans trying to recreate the ribs at home. This is the version I have used for years.

The long marinating time really tenderizes the ribs; they only need about 10 minutes over a medium fire on a grill—about 5 minutes on each side.

If you don’t have a grill, you could broil them, but put them on a rack a few inches below the broiler and watch them carefully. The sugar in the marinade makes it easy for them to burn. I’ve never broiled them, but I imagine it would also take 4 – 5 minutes on each side.


Maui Ribs

(Inspired by the ribs from Azeka’s)


(printable recipe)


(Serves 4; you can cut in half for 2 or double for a crowd)


3 – 3½ pounds flanken beef short ribs

½ cup soy sauce (use wheat-free tamari for gluten-free)

¼ cup dark sesame oil

3 tablespoons sugar (or honey)

2 green onions, sliced

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

2 teaspoons thinly sliced ginger

(Optional) Extra green onions for garnish


Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, onions, garlic and ginger. Put the ribs in a non-reactive baking pan (like Pyrex) or Zip-loc bag and cover with the sauce. Cover and refrigerator for at least 24 hours. They can marinate for up to 3 days and only get better if you marinate them for a longer period of time. Turn them in the marinade a couple of times a day.

Grill the ribs over medium heat—about 5 minutes on each side.

Serve with rice and topped with some fresh green onions.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. hannah permalink
    April 6, 2010 1:45 pm

    That looks delicious! But it seems kinda odd to call it Maui ribs when that’s a pretty traditional Korean kalbi recipe.

  2. April 6, 2010 1:58 pm

    Hi Hannah,
    You’re right–it is a traditional Korean kalbi recipe.

    They came to be called “Maui ribs” by me and by many other loyal fans because of Azeka’s, the family-owned shop that sold their delicious marinated ribs for over 50 years in Kihei, on the island of Maui. If you google “maui ribs” you’ll see all of the people who have tried to duplicate the recipe.

    Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  3. April 6, 2010 2:36 pm

    lookin’ spectacular!

  4. April 6, 2010 7:30 pm

    Thank you, oneshotbeyond!

  5. lin permalink
    April 6, 2010 10:33 pm

    these look awesome! But wondering, if I can use the oven instead of grilling? Thanks!

  6. April 7, 2010 4:41 am

    Hi Lin,
    I have not tried it, but you should be able to broil the ribs in the oven. I don’t use my broiler, so I’m not an expert, but I think you would not want to have the ribs too close to the heat elements. Maybe 4 – 5 inches so they can cook without burning. Let me know how it works if you try it. Thanks for your comment!

  7. April 8, 2010 4:00 am

    Ohhh yummy Kath! Looks so delicious, i`ve posted it in my german blog 🙂 Thanks and Cheers from Berlin!!!! 😀

    • April 8, 2010 5:09 am

      Thank you, sweetlingberlin! Your blog looks great; wish I could read German! 🙂

  8. TacoPhan permalink
    April 8, 2010 3:22 pm

    Great looking recipe. Anyone have suggestions for alternate cuts of meat for this style? I cannot find flanken anywhere in my area (Cape Cod).

    • April 8, 2010 3:31 pm

      Hi TacoPhan,

      It won’t be quite the same, but if you can’t find flanken beef short ribs you might try using flank steak. It would work quite well with this marinade. I would still marinate it for at least 24 hours and then grill or broil.

      Maybe someone else will have another suggestion for you.

  9. Dionne Baldwin permalink
    July 16, 2010 11:58 am

    These sound amazing. Whomever first thought of cooking with ginger was a genius! 🙂

  10. July 29, 2010 11:57 am

    any one try cooking these unnder the broiler?

  11. Greta permalink
    December 7, 2010 5:36 pm

    I just tried them under the broiler in my toaster oven. The space between them and the broiler was about 3.5 inches and they turned out oh so yummy!! They did sizzle a lot so it made me stay close but not too close in the case that anything was going to hit me (when I opened the door). I did about 5-7 min on each side.

    • December 7, 2010 5:55 pm

      I really appreciate your comment, Greta, and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the ribs! Your input will be very helpful for those who want to use a broiler. Thank you so much! 🙂

  12. Andre Marsh permalink
    February 10, 2011 6:07 pm

    I stumbled across your recipe a few weeks ago and have used it twice since then, the taste is amazing! I am actually trying it again tonight but using a different cut of meat, coming from New Zealand Lamb is favourite down here, so I’ll be using this recipe with lamb chops.
    Thanks for posting this recipe for us all to try.

    • February 10, 2011 9:22 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, Andre! I’m glad you enjoy it. I bet it would be a great marinade with lamb, too!

  13. March 9, 2011 7:27 am

    I’m filing this one away for when the snow melts!

  14. April 22, 2012 6:33 pm

    Thanks for an amazing recipe! Had them tonight with rice and chinese vineagered brocolli!
    I cooked them under the broiler and they were perfect.

  15. Joey permalink
    July 29, 2012 2:47 pm

    Made these for dinner last night, and they were just fantastic. Rave reviews from everyone in the family. Even my pickey 10 year old devoured hers! I marinated them for 24 hours, and was happy to have dinner almost done before I even strted. Served with rice and and an Asian slaw. Yum! Thanks for the recipe, glad to have found your blog. Happy cooking!

    • July 29, 2012 3:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Joey, for letting me know that your family enjoyed the ribs! They’re definitely a favorite in our family.

  16. Marie Miller permalink
    January 15, 2021 6:52 pm

    We did exactly the same thing! Stayed in a duplex very close to Azekas. Would have them numerous times during our two week stay. They even took my husband in the back & showed him the marinating process. Several large vats. Ribs were marinated a certain amount of time in one vat then moved to next vat,etc. Of course they didn’t reveal recipe or what was in each vat! We even splurged once & had some flown to our house from Azeka’s.

    • January 18, 2021 9:04 am

      That’s so interesting, Marie, about the multiple vats. Thanks for your comment!

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